Report reveals Top 10 most-confusing tech buzzwords

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Danville, California — The California-based Engligh language tracker, Global Language Monitor, released its 2005 list of most confusing – yet frequently cited – high tech buzzwords to be “HTTP,” “Voice Over IP” (VoIP), and “Megapixel.” Closely following were “Plasma,” “Robust,” “WORM” and “Emoticon.”

In early March, the group used a predictive index computer algorithm to track specific words and phrases in the media and on the Internet. They were tracked in relation to frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.

The Global Language Monitor claims to analyze and catalogue trends in word usage and word choices, focusing on the linguistic impact on various cultures. The GLM says it relies upon a global network of volunteer linguists, professional wordsmiths and other bibliophiles to monitor the trends in the evolution and demise of world languages.

GLM’s list, in order of frequency of use, of the most-confusing technology terms with the group’s explanation as to why they are faulty follows:

  1. HTTP – HyperText Transfer Protocol is the standard protocol used for transmitting web pages (which are written in HTML (HyperText Markup Language)), not text written while hyper on too much Starbucks coffee. There are more than 1 billion references to HTTP on the web alone.
  2. Voice over IP – Voice over Internet Protocol, (pronounced voyp, similar to Detroit) is a way of transmitting voice data over the Internet. VoIP is becoming more popular as services such as Skype offer people free voice communication with anyone with a broad-band connection.
  3. Megapixel – Approximately one million pixels, not a single, big pixel (“mega” is the metric system prefix for million). “Pixel” itself is a technical term which means “picture element”. Digital pictures consist of a grid of millions of pixels, which are square or rectangular dots, each having a single colour.
  4. Plasma – A plasma display (commonly used in televisions) is a flat, lightweight surface with a grid of millions of tiny glass bubbles containing plasma. A digitally controlled electric current flows through the bubbles causing the plasma inside to glow various colours. Plasma displays have nothing to do with blood plasma.
  5. Robust – Robustness generally means “it won’t break easily.” It supposedly describes computer programs or hardware that have been well-tested and demonstrated to not crash or fail often, but since it is a vague term by nature (how robust is robust?) it is frequently used by marketing types regardless.
  6. WORM – While a worm is a type of computer virus, WORM stands for ’Write Once, Read Many’. It describes a file system primarily used for optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs. For example, CD-Rs can only be written (or “burned”) once but afterwards can be read many times (otherwise you could only listen to your music CD once). This excludes re-writable CDs which can be written many times.
  7. Emoticon – Emoticon stands for emotional icon. An emoticon is a sequence of characters that look visually like a face and are used in text chat to convey emotion. The most common emoticon is the smiley face – 🙂 – which looks like two eyes and a mouth turned 90 degrees.
  8. Best of Breed – Not to be confused with the Westminster Dog Show, a best-of-breed product is a personalized solution made of components from various manufacturers; in other words, it’s a sort of high tech ‘mix-and-match’.
  9. Viral Marketing – A recent marketing trend which relies on word-of-mouth to spread, rather than traditional advertising strategies. It is called “viral” because as people talk about it, the marketing message “spreads” to new people, who in turn inform others, and so on, which is how viruses spread. The Burger King “Subservient Chicken” campaign is considered an example of viral marketing. Computer viruses used by spammers to turn desktop computers into “zombie” spam relays are something completely different.
  10. Data Migration – Data migration is an idealistic (though usually impossible) concept where data can be used by different versions of the program in which it was created (newer or older). The migration (migration means “to move”) refers to the fact that the data is moved from one version (or program) to another without difficulty or loss of information. It is a subset of backward and forward compatibility.

Other terms being tracked included “client/server,” “solution,” “paradigm,” “backward compatible,” and the “STUN protocol.”

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Latest trial of the One Laptop Per Child running in India; Uruguay orders 100,000 machines

Thursday, November 8, 2007

India is the latest of the countries where the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) experiment has started. Children from the village of Khairat were given the opportunity to learn how to use the XO laptop. During the last year XO was distributed to children from Arahuay in Peru, Ban Samkha in Thailand, Cardal in Uruguay and Galadima in Nigeria. The OLPC team are, in their reports on the startup of the trials, delighted with how the laptop has improved access to information and ability to carry out educational activities. Thailand’s The Nation has praised the project, describing the children as “enthusiastic” and keen to attend school with their laptops.

Recent good news for the project sees Uruguay having ordered 100,000 of the machines which are to be given to children aged six to twelve. Should all go according to plan a further 300,000 machines will be purchased by 2009 to give one to every child in the country. As the first to order, Uruguay chose the OLPC XO laptop over its rival from Intel, the Classmate PC. In parallel with the delivery of the laptops network connectivity will be provided to schools involved in the project.

The remainder of this article is based on Carla G. Munroy’s Khairat Chronicle, which is available from the OLPC Wiki. Additional sources are listed at the end.

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Radio Control Car: Showcasing Advancement Of Technology

We all know this very well that toys and games are such things that can make any kid happy. No matter how angry or sad they are, these things bring smile on their face and it these can keep them busy for hours. Radio control car is one among those advanced and most favorite toys for children. It showcases the advancement of technology in the finest way.

Previously there were no such hi-tech toys were there. Children used to play with simple toys but gradually with the advancement of era, large number of such hi-tech toys has come in the market. The radio control car is one of the examples of such development. You can find variety of designs and pattern of this car available in the market. Starting from a low cost to a very high one are present in the market. As per the efficiency of your pocket you can get one for your kid and make him happy.

If you look around the market you can get radio control fast racing car model, 1:6 off radio remote controlled monster truck car, 1:30 8CH crawler type model toy remote control crane, F1 radio control fast kart racing model car, mini racer four channels remotely controlled cars, lucky boy super wall climber IR remote control car and many more. Apart from the above mentioned ones, you can get many other radio control car too embedded with n numbers of advanced features and functions that you have never ever imagined.

Just by sitting on a particular position, your child can control the radio control car with the help of a remote available with it. The buttons on the remote let you control the direction that where you want to take turn. Whenever you want to stop it you can do it with an ease with the help of the buttons present on it. The speed can also be controlled as per your wish. There are many more features available that you can only explore after getting one from the market.

These days, many online shopping portals have come up that deal in these kinds of toys. DinoDirect is one among those online portals from where you can get the radio control car with huge discounts and lots of exciting offers. We have a huge variety of models to choose from that you can get by spending a little amount from your pocket. So hurry and visit us soon to grab the best.

Microsoft to track legal marijuana with new partner Kind Financial

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Microsoft announced on Thursday they are partnering with KIND Financial to help governments track the production and distribution of legal marijuana. Kind Financial, a California-based start-up company, began selling its Agrisoft Seed to Sale software three years ago. Microsoft is admitting Kind’s software on the Government portion of its Azure cloud service.

Although Kind Financial CEO David Dinenberg stressed to The Guardian they “absolutely do not touch the plant”, his company does business with growers and distributors of marijuana, as well as the governments that regulate it. State law in twenty-five US states — but not US federal law — has legalized marijuana, whether medicinally or for recreational use. Kimberly Nelson, Microsoft executive director of state and local government solutions, said they expect significant demand for technology to help states make sure cannabis distribution within their state is done according to their laws.

Kind also provides kiosks similar to automated tellers (ATMs) to facilitate marijuana transactions in dispensaries. The distribution of marijuana is often done only with cash or through machines like the ones Kind offers since many banks in the United States shy away from the marijuana industry entirely. Microsoft is not interacting with this part of Kind’s operations, however.

Microsoft and Kind will apply for contracts with state governments for their software. Currently, they have applied to Puerto Rico, a US territory, where medical marijuana has recently been made legal. BioTrackTHC, a company similar to Kind Financial, already has contracts with Washington, New Mexico, and Illinois.

Dinenberg said his company’s partnership with Microsoft is a major step in advancing the legitimacy of cannabis-related businesses.

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Alternative to controversial hotel proposed to Buffalo, N.Y. business owners and residents

Buffalo, N.Y. Hotel Proposal Controversy
Recent Developments
  • “Old deeds threaten Buffalo, NY hotel development” — Wikinews, November 21, 2006
  • “Proposal for Buffalo, N.Y. hotel reportedly dead: parcels for sale “by owner”” — Wikinews, November 16, 2006
  • “Contract to buy properties on site of Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal extended” — Wikinews, October 2, 2006
  • “Court date “as needed” for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal” — Wikinews, August 14, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing for lawsuit against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal rescheduled” — Wikinews, July 26, 2006
  • “Elmwood Village Hotel proposal in Buffalo, N.Y. withdrawn” — Wikinews, July 13, 2006
  • “Preliminary hearing against Buffalo, N.Y. hotel proposal delayed” — Wikinews, June 2, 2006
Original Story
  • “Hotel development proposal could displace Buffalo, NY business owners” — Wikinews, February 17, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Buffalo, New York —

Residents and business owners in the Elmwood Avenue neighborhood and surrounding area in Buffalo heard a competing proposal for development in their neighborhood at the February 22 meeting held at the Burchfield-Penney Art Gallery, at Buffalo State College. The meeting, attended by at least 140, was originally to consider the Elmwood Village Hotel but also included a new revitalization proposal from Rocco Termini which would increase retail space, but involves less demolition and no hotel.

Rocco Termini, a Buffalo, New York developer wants to develop the corner of Elmwood and Forest, the same spot where Savarino Construction Services Corporation want to build the Elmwood Village Hotel.

Termini proposed that a similar revitalization take place on the intersection like one that incorporated 3 buildings on Aurburn and Elmwood just last year. Termini’s proposal will add more retail space than Savarino’s proposal with the possibility of including up to seven retail outlets.

“I just think it’s necessary to preserve the streetscape that we have. That’s the whole point of living and shopping on Elmwood,” said Termini. “You should be able to go into little shops, that have unique items, and that bring people to Elmwood. When you bring a big box on Elmwood Avenue, it takes something away from the urban-streetscape, just as suburban areas do not want a big box Wal-Mart. We don’t want a big box on Elmwood avenue and I think that’s just what this (the hotel) does, brings a big box to Elmwood,” said Termini.

When asked if there were any development companies currently interested in his proposal Termini said, “I will be willing to take a look at this myself,” said Termini. “Or I would be more than happy to be partners with Sam, Sam Savarino,” who is President and Chief Executive Officer of Savarino Construction Services Corp.

An unnamed source close to the project stated, “Rocco has serious concerns that the Mobius’s asking price could make his project infeasible.”

It is unknown if Savarino Construction or the city of Buffalo will consider Termini’s proposal.

Termini purchased and developed several buildings and areas including the Ellicott Lofts on Ellicott Street in Buffalo, which opened in 2003, The Oak School Lofts which used to be a Buffalo Alternative School, and ‘IS’ Lofts on Oak Street in Buffalo.

Eva Hassett, Vice President of Savarino Construction, and Karl Frizlen an architect from The Frizlen Group and designer of the hotel commented on the development proposal. Hassett said, “We’ve been thinking about it and trying to put it together for the last few months, and it was made public a couple of weeks ago.”

“There are lots of different areas you can look at. This is an Elmwood Avenue hotel. Putting it somewhere else makes a completely different kind of hotel. We wanted a hotel that people could walk to from the business on Elmwood. We wanted a hotel that people could walk to from the Albright Knox Art Gallery. This is really a location for this kind of hotel. Other locations end up being for other kinds of hotels,” said Hassett

“We are excited about the concept of a boutique hotel at this corner. We think it makes sense to the various businesses in the area or the galleries just down the street. We also believe that this is a way for the visitors of Buffalo to experience what the best of what Buffalo has to offer. We think it will be a great way for people from out of town, to get to know what we know about the city,” said Hassett.

Although Hassett had said that the proposal has only been around “for a few months”, Karl Frizlen said that he came up with the idea “three years ago when Hans Mobius,” former owner of the properties at risk, “came to me and asked what we could do with these properties.” Frizlen also said that he introduced Mobius to “four different developers, who after seeing the properties, did not want to tackle them, saying that they felt like it was too much for them to take on.”

Hans Mobius did not attend last nights meeting.

Frizlen is also designing the former telephone company building at 504 Elmwood which would be a “mixed use building with retail on the lowest level and lofts on the other two floors.”

After speeches from developers, residents and business owners were invited to present questions and comments.

Mark Freelend, a Buffalo resident, and local artist, said “I’m looking at my house in the picture, and I’m picturing all the houses on Granger street behind me, and I’m realizing that, if this is implemented (the hotel), we will get zero sunlight. The Sun is supposed to be free, for everyone. The people on Granger are going to have eighty windows looking at them and their children being raised, and playing in the backyard, guests looking in the windows of their houses twenty-four hours a day. A million people starring into their houses. No sunlight, and they are on permanent reality TV. Put a price on that!”

“I think this hotel is totally out of scale to the area and it does not conform to the style (of Elmwood) at all. It will totally obscure the gateway of Elmwood. The gateway now has open arms that allow for passage and view into the commercial corridor. This hotel stands as a brick wall as far as I can tell,” said Nancy Pollina one of the owners of Don Apparel at 1119 Elmwood. Pollina referenced to the recent ‘revitalization’ project on Auburn and Elmwood saying, “That building was boarded up for years, and that was beautiful a renovation. That building was not in any less need of repair than Hans Mobius’s properties.”

Both residents and business owners in the area are concerned that the proposal is moving too quickly and said that the developers should wait before having any city meetings and wait for a consensus from the community on the hotel.

Mrs. Pollina said, “I think people feel passionate about their neighborhood, and this is their neighborhood. I feel that what was most shocking is that the city’s planning board meeting and Common Council meeting, which are they need to push this through, is next week without almost no notice. This (the proposal) is being rushed.

However; Sam Savarino did say that “some people have gotten emotional about this project. And I want to let the community know that we will listen to what you have to say. We’re not forcing this down anybody’s throat. If this is not something this community wants, we do not want to have it here.”

The city’s Planning Board is expected to meet on February 28, 2006 at 8:00am in room 901 on the 9th floor of City Hall. The city’s Legislative Committee meeting of Common Council is expected to take place on the same day at 2:00pm in Council Chambers on the 13th floor of City Hall.

It has just been confirmed from an unnamed source close to the project that “significant changes” will be made to the design of the Elmwood Village Hotel. “Its not being cancelled, just redesigned,” he said. The changes are not yet known, but they are could be released “tomorrow. He (Savarino) doesn’t want it released until he touches base with a few people today.”

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Horse flu infects Australian thoroughbreds

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It has been confirmed that eight thoroughbred race horses at Randwick Racecourse in Sydney have been infected with equine influenza. Randwick has been locked down, and is expected to remain so for up to two months.

It is expected that the virulent flu will affect the majority of the 700 horses stabled at Randwick. NSW Minister for Primary Industries said the facility would be quarantined until 30 days after the last sign of the flu.

The cases are the first infections of race horses, despite infecting dozens of recreational horses across NSW and Queensland. The flu is highly contagious but cannot be transmitted to humans. The national racing shutdown was costing the industry tens of millions of dollars every day.

Chief Executive of Racing NSW, Peter V’Landys said while racing had been disrupted since a ban on horse movements last weekend today was a “grim, black day” for the racing industry in NSW. Racing is expected to resume in all Australian states except NSW and Queensland on the weekend.

While Sydney’s spring racing carnival has been canceled, Melbourne’s is expected to kick off this weekend with the Caufield Cup. The cup will be ran with special precautions in place to attempt to keep the state free of the virus. Contact between the general public and those working with the horses will be banned and Sydney-based jockeys Darren Beadman and Hugh Bowman and a number of interstate trainers including Bart Cummings are not allowed to take part.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran said the spring carnival in Melbourne will remain “largely intact” despite losing some of the biggest names in Australian racing.

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How Can Air Conditioning Help Asthma And Hay Fever Sufferers

By P Hunter

Most people think of air conditioning for heating and cooling, but few consider the health benefits, particularly for hay fever and asthma sufferers.

How can air conditioning help asthma sufferers

Asthma is mainly triggered by mould, pollen, and animal dander (material shed from the body of various animals). These particles float around in the air and breathing them in is unavoidable. Where air conditioning systems can help significantly is to reduce the number of these particles present in offices and houses.

All air conditioning have special filters that capture particles as the air is recycled through them. Some units are even designed eliminate the humidity that allows mould and algae to thrive much more rapidly then it could if it were living in dry air.

Air conditioners work by pulling air into the unit. This air gets forced through filters then blasted back at the temperature of your choice. It works best when windows are closed and the building is well sealed. Every time the air is pasted through the air conditioning unit, more particles are captured.

How can air conditioning help hay fever sufferers

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People with summer allergies such as hay fever know how disrupting it can be to everyday activities. With the pollen count higher in the spring and summer months it is essential to gain advice on solutions if you intensely suffer with hay fever.

For the same reason air conditioning helps asthma sufferers, it can also help hay fever sufferers. Many sufferers find their symptoms are worse with desk or standing fans, this is because they are stirring up and moving the allergens around the room. With air conditioning units, allergens are circulated and trapped in the filters.

Dust mites are one cause of allergies and are known to thrive in humid areas. This is reduced if the temperatures are kept lower and the way to do this is by installing air conditioning.

Why air conditioning filter maintenance is essential for Asthma and hay fever sufferers.

Air conditioning is a very successful solution for asthma and hay fever sufferers, but units most be maintained if it is to remain effective. Ignoring maintenance, results in clogged and ineffective filters, as well as expensive repairs as the units have to work much harder to force air through the filter.

Because air conditioning units use controlled refrigerant gases, by law, most air conditioning units most be serviced at least once a year. Although, this is also the minimum recommended filter cleaning cycle, most commercial environments usually clean filters every 6 months. Ignoring maintenance, results in clogged filters and expensive repairs as the units have to work much harder to force air through the filter.

A competent air conditioning engineer most be F-Gas certified and as part of servings your unit, they will:

– His first priority will be to make sure the unit is still performing efficiently and all of the mechanical aspects are operating smoothly.

– He will then check to make sure your coolant is pure and at a high level.

– He will check to see if the coils have mould or algae growing on them. If they do, he will clean or replace them.

– The blower will be examined to make sure it is not corroded with dirt or other debris. The wheels are easy to clean if the damage is minimal.

– He will clean or your filter.

– He will clean your drain line of mould and algae.

About the Author: Peter Hunter from

Air Intelligence Ltd

25 years experience with

Air Conditioning in the Berkshire area

. Read more about

air conditionning can help hay fever and asthma sufferers

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Source:

isnare.com

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National Museum of Scotland reopens after three-year redevelopment

Friday, July 29, 2011

Today sees the reopening of the National Museum of Scotland following a three-year renovation costing £47.4 million (US$ 77.3 million). Edinburgh’s Chambers Street was closed to traffic for the morning, with the 10am reopening by eleven-year-old Bryony Hare, who took her first steps in the museum, and won a competition organised by the local Evening News paper to be a VIP guest at the event. Prior to the opening, Wikinews toured the renovated museum, viewing the new galleries, and some of the 8,000 objects inside.

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Dressed in Victorian attire, Scottish broadcaster Grant Stott acted as master of ceremonies over festivities starting shortly after 9am. The packed street cheered an animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex created by Millenium FX; onlookers were entertained with a twenty-minute performance by the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers on the steps of the museum; then, following Bryony Hare knocking three times on the original doors to ask that the museum be opened, the ceremony was heralded with a specially composed fanfare – played on a replica of the museum’s 2,000-year-old carnyx Celtic war-horn. During the fanfare, two abseilers unfurled white pennons down either side of the original entrance.

The completion of the opening to the public was marked with Chinese firecrackers, and fireworks, being set off on the museum roof. As the public crowded into the museum, the Mugenkyo Taiko Drummers resumed their performance; a street theatre group mingled with the large crowd, and the animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex entertained the thinning crowd of onlookers in the centre of the street.

On Wednesday, the museum welcomed the world’s press for an in depth preview of the new visitor experience. Wikinews was represented by Brian McNeil, who is also Wikimedia UK’s interim liaison with Museum Galleries Scotland.

The new pavement-level Entrance Hall saw journalists mingle with curators. The director, Gordon Rintoul, introduced presentations by Gareth Hoskins and Ralph Applebaum, respective heads of the Architects and Building Design Team; and, the designers responsible for the rejuvenation of the museum.

Describing himself as a “local lad”, Hoskins reminisced about his grandfather regularly bringing him to the museum, and pushing all the buttons on the numerous interactive exhibits throughout the museum. Describing the nearly 150-year-old museum as having become “a little tired”, and a place “only visited on a rainy day”, he commented that many international visitors to Edinburgh did not realise that the building was a public space; explaining the focus was to improve access to the museum – hence the opening of street-level access – and, to “transform the complex”, focus on “opening up the building”, and “creating a number of new spaces […] that would improve facilities and really make this an experience for 21st century museum visitors”.

Hoskins explained that a “rabbit warren” of storage spaces were cleared out to provide street-level access to the museum; the floor in this “crypt-like” space being lowered by 1.5 metres to achieve this goal. Then Hoskins handed over to Applebaum, who expressed his delight to be present at the reopening.

Applebaum commented that one of his first encounters with the museum was seeing “struggling young mothers with two kids in strollers making their way up the steps”, expressing his pleasure at this being made a thing of the past. Applebaum explained that the Victorian age saw the opening of museums for public access, with the National Museum’s earlier incarnation being the “College Museum” – a “first window into this museum’s collection”.

Have you any photos of the museum, or its exhibits?

The museum itself is physically connected to the University of Edinburgh’s old college via a bridge which allowed students to move between the two buildings.

Applebaum explained that the museum will, now redeveloped, be used as a social space, with gatherings held in the Grand Gallery, “turning the museum into a social convening space mixed with knowledge”. Continuing, he praised the collections, saying they are “cultural assets [… Scotland is] turning those into real cultural capital”, and the museum is, and museums in general are, providing a sense of “social pride”.

McNeil joined the yellow group on a guided tour round the museum with one of the staff. Climbing the stairs at the rear of the Entrance Hall, the foot of the Window on the World exhibit, the group gained a first chance to see the restored Grand Gallery. This space is flooded with light from the glass ceiling three floors above, supported by 40 cast-iron columns. As may disappoint some visitors, the fish ponds have been removed; these were not an original feature, but originally installed in the 1960s – supposedly to humidify the museum; and failing in this regard. But, several curators joked that they attracted attention as “the only thing that moved” in the museum.

The museum’s original architect was Captain Francis Fowke, also responsible for the design of London’s Royal Albert Hall; his design for the then-Industrial Museum apparently inspired by Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace.

The group moved from the Grand Gallery into the Discoveries Gallery to the south side of the museum. The old red staircase is gone, and the Millennium Clock stands to the right of a newly-installed escalator, giving easier access to the upper galleries than the original staircases at each end of the Grand Gallery. Two glass elevators have also been installed, flanking the opening into the Discoveries Gallery and, providing disabled access from top-to-bottom of the museum.

The National Museum of Scotland’s origins can be traced back to 1780 when the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stuart Erskine, formed the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland; the Society being tasked with the collection and preservation of archaeological artefacts for Scotland. In 1858, control of this was passed to the government of the day and the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland came into being. Items in the collection at that time were housed at various locations around the city.

On Wednesday, October 28, 1861, during a royal visit to Edinburgh by Queen Victoria, Prince-Consort Albert laid the foundation-stone for what was then intended to be the Industrial Museum. Nearly five years later, it was the second son of Victoria and Albert, Prince Alfred, the then-Duke of Edinburgh, who opened the building which was then known as the Scottish Museum of Science and Art. A full-page feature, published in the following Monday’s issue of The Scotsman covered the history leading up to the opening of the museum, those who had championed its establishment, the building of the collection which it was to house, and Edinburgh University’s donation of their Natural History collection to augment the exhibits put on public display.

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Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Selection of views of the Grand Gallery Image: Brian McNeil.

Closed for a little over three years, today’s reopening of the museum is seen as the “centrepiece” of National Museums Scotland’s fifteen-year plan to dramatically improve accessibility and better present their collections. Sir Andrew Grossard, chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “The reopening of the National Museum of Scotland, on time and within budget is a tremendous achievement […] Our collections tell great stories about the world, how Scots saw that world, and the disproportionate impact they had upon it. The intellectual and collecting impact of the Scottish diaspora has been profound. It is an inspiring story which has captured the imagination of our many supporters who have helped us achieve our aspirations and to whom we are profoundly grateful.

The extensive work, carried out with a view to expand publicly accessible space and display more of the museums collections, carried a £47.4 million pricetag. This was jointly funded with £16 million from the Scottish Government, and £17.8 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund. Further funds towards the work came from private sources and totalled £13.6 million. Subsequent development, as part of the longer-term £70 million “Masterplan”, is expected to be completed by 2020 and see an additional eleven galleries opened.

The funding by the Scottish Government can be seen as a ‘canny‘ investment; a report commissioned by National Museums Scotland, and produced by consultancy firm Biggar Economics, suggest the work carried out could be worth £58.1 million per year, compared with an estimated value to the economy of £48.8 prior to the 2008 closure. Visitor figures are expected to rise by over 20%; use of function facilities are predicted to increase, alongside other increases in local hospitality-sector spending.

Proudly commenting on the Scottish Government’s involvement Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture and External Affairs, described the reopening as, “one of the nation’s cultural highlights of 2011” and says the rejuvenated museum is, “[a] must-see attraction for local and international visitors alike“. Continuing to extol the museum’s virtues, Hyslop states that it “promotes the best of Scotland and our contributions to the world.

So-far, the work carried out is estimated to have increased the public space within the museum complex by 50%. Street-level storage rooms, never before seen by the public, have been transformed into new exhibit space, and pavement-level access to the buildings provided which include a new set of visitor facilities. Architectural firm Gareth Hoskins have retained the original Grand Gallery – now the first floor of the museum – described as a “birdcage” structure and originally inspired by The Crystal Palace built in Hyde Park, London for the 1851 Great Exhibition.

The centrepiece in the Grand Gallery is the “Window on the World” exhibit, which stands around 20 metres tall and is currently one of the largest installations in any UK museum. This showcases numerous items from the museum’s collections, rising through four storeys in the centre of the museum. Alexander Hayward, the museums Keeper of Science and Technology, challenged attending journalists to imagine installing “teapots at thirty feet”.

The redeveloped museum includes the opening of sixteen brand new galleries. Housed within, are over 8,000 objects, only 20% of which have been previously seen.

  • Ground floor
  • First floor
  • Second floor
  • Top floor

The Window on the World rises through the four floors of the museum and contains over 800 objects. This includes a gyrocopter from the 1930s, the world’s largest scrimshaw – made from the jaws of a sperm whale which the University of Edinburgh requested for their collection, a number of Buddha figures, spearheads, antique tools, an old gramophone and record, a selection of old local signage, and a girder from the doomed Tay Bridge.

The arrangement of galleries around the Grand Gallery’s “birdcage” structure is organised into themes across multiple floors. The World Cultures Galleries allow visitors to explore the culture of the entire planet; Living Lands explains the ways in which our natural environment influences the way we live our lives, and the beliefs that grow out of the places we live – from the Arctic cold of North America to Australia’s deserts.

The adjacent Patterns of Life gallery shows objects ranging from the everyday, to the unusual from all over the world. The functions different objects serve at different periods in peoples’ lives are explored, and complement the contents of the Living Lands gallery.

Performance & Lives houses musical instruments from around the world, alongside masks and costumes; both rooted in long-established traditions and rituals, this displayed alongside contemporary items showing the interpretation of tradition by contemporary artists and instrument-creators.

The museum proudly bills the Facing the Sea gallery as the only one in the UK which is specifically based on the cultures of the South Pacific. It explores the rich diversity of the communities in the region, how the sea shapes the islanders’ lives – describing how their lives are shaped as much by the sea as the land.

Both the Facing the Sea and Performance & Lives galleries are on the second floor, next to the new exhibition shop and foyer which leads to one of the new exhibition galleries, expected to house the visiting Amazing Mummies exhibit in February, coming from Leiden in the Netherlands.

The Inspired by Nature, Artistic Legacies, and Traditions in Sculpture galleries take up most of the east side of the upper floor of the museum. The latter of these shows the sculptors from diverse cultures have, through history, explored the possibilities in expressing oneself using metal, wood, or stone. The Inspired by Nature gallery shows how many artists, including contemporary ones, draw their influence from the world around us – often commenting on our own human impact on that natural world.

Contrastingly, the Artistic Legacies gallery compares more traditional art and the work of modern artists. The displayed exhibits attempt to show how people, in creating specific art objects, attempt to illustrate the human spirit, the cultures they are familiar with, and the imaginative input of the objects’ creators.

The easternmost side of the museum, adjacent to Edinburgh University’s Old College, will bring back memories for many regular visitors to the museum; but, with an extensive array of new items. The museum’s dedicated taxidermy staff have produced a wide variety of fresh examples from the natural world.

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At ground level, the Animal World and Wildlife Panorama’s most imposing exhibit is probably the lifesize reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. This rubs shoulders with other examples from around the world, including one of a pair of elephants. The on-display elephant could not be removed whilst renovation work was underway, and lurked in a corner of the gallery as work went on around it.

Above, in the Animal Senses gallery, are examples of how we experience the world through our senses, and contrasting examples of wildly differing senses, or extremes of such, present in the natural world. This gallery also has giant screens, suspended in the free space, which show footage ranging from the most tranquil and peaceful life in the sea to the tooth-and-claw bloody savagery of nature.

The Survival gallery gives visitors a look into the ever-ongoing nature of evolution; the causes of some species dying out while others thrive, and the ability of any species to adapt as a method of avoiding extinction.

Earth in Space puts our place in the universe in perspective. Housing Europe’s oldest surviving Astrolabe, dating from the eleventh century, this gallery gives an opportunity to see the technology invented to allow us to look into the big questions about what lies beyond Earth, and probe the origins of the universe and life.

In contrast, the Restless Earth gallery shows examples of the rocks and minerals formed through geological processes here on earth. The continual processes of the planet are explored alongside their impact on human life. An impressive collection of geological specimens are complemented with educational multimedia presentations.

Beyond working on new galleries, and the main redevelopment, the transformation team have revamped galleries that will be familiar to regular past visitors to the museum.

Formerly known as the Ivy Wu Gallery of East Asian Art, the Looking East gallery showcases National Museums Scotland’s extensive collection of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese material. The gallery’s creation was originally sponsored by Sir Gordon Wu, and named after his wife Ivy. It contains items from the last dynasty, the Manchu, and examples of traditional ceramic work. Japan is represented through artefacts from ordinary people’s lives, expositions on the role of the Samurai, and early trade with the West. Korean objects also show the country’s ceramic work, clothing, and traditional accessories used, and worn, by the indigenous people.

The Ancient Egypt gallery has always been a favourite of visitors to the museum. A great many of the exhibits in this space were returned to Scotland from late 19th century excavations; and, are arranged to take visitors through the rituals, and objects associated with, life, death, and the afterlife, as viewed from an Egyptian perspective.

The Art and Industry and European Styles galleries, respectively, show how designs are arrived at and turned into manufactured objects, and the evolution of European style – financed and sponsored by a wide range of artists and patrons. A large number of the objects on display, often purchased or commissioned, by Scots, are now on display for the first time ever.

Shaping our World encourages visitors to take a fresh look at technological objects developed over the last 200 years, many of which are so integrated into our lives that they are taken for granted. Radio, transportation, and modern medicines are covered, with a retrospective on the people who developed many of the items we rely on daily.

What was known as the Museum of Scotland, a modern addition to the classical Victorian-era museum, is now known as the Scottish Galleries following the renovation of the main building.

This dedicated newer wing to the now-integrated National Museum of Scotland covers the history of Scotland from a time before there were people living in the country. The geological timescale is covered in the Beginnings gallery, showing continents arranging themselves into what people today see as familiar outlines on modern-day maps.

Just next door, the history of the earliest occupants of Scotland are on display; hunters and gatherers from around 4,000 B.C give way to farmers in the Early People exhibits.

The Kingdom of the Scots follows Scotland becoming a recognisable nation, and a kingdom ruled over by the Stewart dynasty. Moving closer to modern-times, the Scotland Transformed gallery looks at the country’s history post-union in 1707.

Industry and Empire showcases Scotland’s significant place in the world as a source of heavy engineering work in the form of rail engineering and shipbuilding – key components in the building of the British Empire. Naturally, whisky was another globally-recognised export introduced to the world during empire-building.

Lastly, Scotland: A Changing Nation collects less-tangible items, including personal accounts, from the country’s journey through the 20th century; the social history of Scots, and progress towards being a multicultural nation, is explored through heavy use of multimedia exhibits.

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More dog and cat food recalled in the United States

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Natural Balance Pet Foods has recalled some of its wet and dry food for cats and dogs after several owners said that their pets were becoming sick. The company urges owners to stop feeding their pets the food immediately.

The brands recalled include Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food.

Last month, Menu Foods recalled all of its 60 million products of dry and wet dog and cat food after pets began to fall ill and in some cases died of kidney failure.

“Natural Balance, Pacoima, CA, is issuing a voluntary nationwide recall for all of its Venison dog products and the dry Venison cat food only, regardless of date codes. The recalled products include Venison and Brown Rice canned and bagged dog foods, Venison and Brown Rice dog treats, and Venison and Green Pea dry cat food. Recent laboratory results show that the products contain melamine. We believe the source of the melamine is a rice protein concentrate. Natural Balance has confirmed this morning that some production batches of these products may contain melamine,” said a press released issued by Natural Balance.

The FDA states that the “investigation remains open and active, and the agency continues to follow leads to get closer to the root cause of the problem and to ensure that all contaminated product is removed from the market.”

“The source of the melamine appears to be a rice protein concentrate, which was recently added to the dry venison formulas. Natural Balance does not use wheat gluten, which was associated with the previous melamine contamination,” said the press release.

Bags, cans and zip lock bags of the food are expected to be the most affected.

“The products are packaged in bags, cans and zip lock treat bags and sold in pet specialty stores and PetCo nationally. No other Natural Balance products are involved in this voluntary recall as none of our other formulas include the rice protein concentrate,” added the press release.

The company states that the food, Venison & Brown Rice Dry Dog Food and Venison & Green Pea Dry Cat Food, are the only brands affected by the recall.

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Man charged with assaulting British singer Leona Lewis

Friday, October 16, 2009

A man has been arrested and charged after the assault of British singer Leona Lewis, which occurred on Wednesday. The attacker turned out to be 29-year-old Peter Kowalczyk, who suffers from a health condition called anaemia, which causes a reduction from the normal number of red blood cells. The condition also causes a decrease in oxygen-binding ability. His parents said that it “affects his state of mind”. He had also been suffering from a series of psychological problems, of which he was getting music therapy for from the National Health Service (NHS).

It was thought that he attacked Leona Lewis out of envy because she had won the third series of The X Factor UK, whereas he was turned down from the show, according to British tabloid The Sun. On Wednesday, Leona was signing copies of her autobiography “Dreams” for attending fans in a Waterstone’s book specialist store in the Piccadilly region of London, England. Kowalczyk was believed to be waiting for five hours to get an autobiography signing. When he did attack Lewis, he was immediately wrestled to the ground by security guards at the scene, while Leona was escorted away. The attack left a large bruise on her head.

Peter has been arrested and charged with assault. He was placed into a psychiatric hospital and sectioned under the Mental Health Act 2007 on Thursday. As a result of this incident, Leona Lewis has cancelled a trip to Germany, where she would have signed more copies of her autobiography. The 24-year-old singer is now being cared for in her East London home by Jo and Maria, her parents, and is also being comforted by Lou Al-Chaama, her boyfriend. It has been reported that Kowalczyk is due to appear in a court in late October 2009.

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